A consultation is seeking to strengthen the regulations around dog breeding and pet sales.
On 20 December, Defra announced proposals to introduce tougher dog breeding licensing to protect the welfare of puppies from back street breeders.
Strengthening regulations will make it easier to identify and take action against irresponsible breeders who pay little regard to the health and welfare of the puppies they raise, Defra said.
Animal welfare minister George Eustice said: “We are a nation of dog lovers, but it is crucial puppies are cared for properly and socialised in the first three months if they are to enjoy healthy and happy lives.
“We are aiming to reform the licensing regime we have so that smaller puppy breeding establishments must abide by the same regulations and licensing rules as bigger breeders, so the worst offenders can be dealt with more quickly.”
Other animal related licensed activities will also be reviewed, including pet sales to address problems associated with the growing trend for internet sales that can contribute to impulse buying.
The consultation will tighten up the licensing regulations for breeders by clarifying existing rules requiring any breeding businesses to have a licence.
The proposals will also increase the number of smaller back street breeders, who may not consider themselves a business, which will require a licence by making it a requirement for anyone producing three or more litters of puppies per year.
The consultation also seeks to formalise the adoption of existing model conditions on good breeding health and welfare by making it a requirement for breeders to comply and for local authorities to use them.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/tougher-dog-breeding-licence-controls-to-protect-puppies